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UAL appoints Dr susan pui san lok to lead the Decolonising Arts Institute
An artist and writer based in London, Dr susan pui san lok joins UAL from Middlesex University, where she was Reader in Fine Art from 2013 and Associate Professor from 2014, in the Faculty of Arts and the Creative Industries. From 2015 to 2018, she was Co-Investigator on the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded project, Black Artists and Modernism, led by UAL in partnership with Middlesex University, with Professor Sonia Boyce as Principal Investigator. susan has been working with UAL since June 2018 to develop the Decolonising Arts Institute.
Simon Ofield-Kerr, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), UAL:
Dr susan pui san lok’s appointment represents an important step forward in our endeavours around decolonisation within the arts, supporting the recognition of artists, thinkers and makers who challenge dominant cultural structures and narratives, and ultimately striving towards institutional and sector change.
susan’s practice ranges across moving image, installation, sound, performance and text. Projects include solo exhibitions at Glasgow International Festival (2020, forthcoming), FirstSite, Colchester (2019), CFCCA (2016), QUAD (2015), MAI/Montreal Arts Interculturels (2014), and commissions for Film and Video Umbrella, De La Warr Pavilion, BFI Southbank and Cornerhouse / BBC Big Screen. International group exhibitions include Diaspora Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017), the 1st Asia Biennial and 5thGuangzhou Triennial (2015-2016), and shows at SITE Sante Fe, Hong Kong Art Centre, Shanghai Duolun MoMA, Beijing 798 Space and Gallery 4a, Australia.
Recent writings include essays for The Place Is Here (N Aikens and E Robles eds., 2019, Sternberg Press), Deviant Practice (N Aikens ed., 2018, Van Abbemuseum e-publication), and Contesting British Chinese Culture (A Thorpe and D Yeh eds., 2018, Palgrave Macmillan). Forthcoming publications include essays for Conceptualisms: Intersectional Readings, International Framings (N Aikens, s lok and S Orlando eds., 2019, Van Abbemuseum e-publication); ‘Voice as Form in Contemporary Asian Art’, a special issue of Oxford Art Journal (P Corey and W Teo eds., 2020); and an extended interview with Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier for ‘Remapping British Art: Three Moments of Modernism’, a special issue of the journal Art History (S Boyce and D Price eds., 2020). Her artist books and multiples include RoCH Fans and Legends (2017), RoCH Fan (2015), Faster, Higher (2009), Golden (Notes) (2007) and NEWS (2005).
UAL Decolonising Arts Institute has been in development since autumn 2018 and now enters its pilot year, with a view to launching in autumn 2020. Led by Professor susan pui san lok, the Institute seeks to enhance the visibility, understanding and impact of postcolonial, decolonial and intersectional thinking and practice. Envisaged as a de-centred, disruptive and evolving space, the Institute aims to generate collaborative practice and research projects across-UAL and beyond.
Building on the recent AHRC Black Artists and Modernism project, the Institute will continue to work closely with individuals, organisations, museums and collections – to challenge colonial and imperial legacies, to address historical amnesias and contemporary silences, to amplify voices and gather strengths, and drive cultural, social and institutional change.
Image: Dr susan pui san lok. Photo by Pete Carr